The clutter builds right before my eyes. It usually starts as a harmless stack on the kitchen counter and before I can reign it in the stack becomes too much.
The same thing happens when I allow too many things to take over my mind. Before I realize it the brain clutter spills over into my heart, leaving little space for the most important things in life.
I don’t want that life anymore. I no longer want to deal with the visible stacks of clutter that I should have taken care of earlier. And, I sure don’t need any of the extra stuff taking up room in my heart and mind because it interferes with my quiet time, my resolve to focus on Christ and my family, and it totally takes away what I am wanting to be intentional about.
So how do I prevent the clutter from piling up and taking over my home and my spiritual life? How can I stop being a pack rat of sorts?
By cutting the cord and letting go for good.
Here are 3 ways to effectively tackle clutter
1. Recognize the reason for collecting clutter.
That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is the root cause. Why do I need to hang on to everything? Collecting material things isn’t any different than collecting pain, challenges, and hurt feelings. Who needs all that stuff? It’s not good for us, it takes up space, and weighs us down. So what causes us to hold these things so close to our heart?
Personally I keep material things for comfort. I believe if I throw it away then I will need it. Faulty thinking for sure, but I just can’t let go.
As far as holding onto the hurt feelings and stinging words–I don’t hang on to those for comfort. Instead I replay them over and over again in my mind, believing if I replay them enough then I’ll figure out what went wrong and correct it the next time. There’s nothing healthy about doing that, but somehow it allows me to feel like I’m in control. I’m getting better at letting this part of the clutter go for good because there’s nothing positive about it.
God’s word tells us, “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” 1 John 2:15-17 MSG
2. Release the fear associated with letting go of the clutter.
It’s so important to surrender our fears to God. Easier said than done. You see, I’m afraid of what I might throw away or give away because I might need it later.
Letting go is difficult and it hurts. Sometimes it feels like I’m losing a part of myself. But I know God wants me to be free from the trappings of the extra stuff I’m collecting. And letting go offers a huge sense of relief when we trust that God has something better for us.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
3. Start the sorting and separation process.
No one said this would be easy, but it is necessary. You know God loves us whether we have clutter or not, but it’s so much easier to have clarity if we’re not covered up in tons of extra stuff.
If I could put my finger on the one thing that slows me down with decluttering, it’s this: I have trouble sorting through the junk and determining at that moment what needs to go and where. Oh my head knows exactly what needs to go, but it’s the heart that hangs on for dear life. What I really want is to touch an item one time and immediately determine where it goes and not experience one moment of regret.
Thankfully through prayer and focusing on the issue at hand, I can once and for all make a plan and implement the plan, even if it means taking one step at a time.
That’s what I have to remember: this is a process and takes time.
God’s word says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3 NIV
God has definitely placed decluttering on my heart, mind, and soul. He knows I’ve been planning, researching, and looking for a better way to divide and conquer the tasks ahead of me. But just as I obsess over the cleaning out of closets, or drawers, or the endless supply of paper I’ve collected, He wants me to clean out the burdens that are weighing me down, the things I have no control over, and most of all He wants me to lay aside those things that are not best for me. He wants me to start now because the time has come to simplify my soul.
As you think about your next steps, what’s stopping you from letting go for good?
I’ll be praying for you in the week ahead.